Cool. A cool week it has been in terms of our air temperatures naturally with a cooling off of a lot of the previous week’s aquatic activity, also cooler inner Waitemata harbour waters yet it’s still well over 15c out wider in the gulf. The wider regions are providing slowly but surely fishing returns, without bird activity lately in most of the gulf, simply slowing down to troll speed out in 50m – finding some good bottom sign shouldn’t take long, then simply drift fish with quality lures and sharp hooks. The open ground between Channel Island and Horn Rock has an excellent variety of fish, in just one day gurnard, trevally, snapper and john dory have all been accounted for on a variety of jigs. From inchiku to slow pitch, motion being the key with a surprisingly vigorous action imparted by the angler working well. This aggressive approach seems to be sparking up otherwise semi-hibernating fish. When the bite stops (it has been noticeably better on the incoming, good timing over the next few days) it can be very challenging to get snapper to bite. This is when targeting other species comes to the fore and the list is long. Changes in tactics and tackle can bring home the bacon, so to speak.
Lots of little stark-white terns flitting about here and there southern Waiheke, southern Whangaparaoa, western Rangitoto/Rakino area, northern Tiri channel – with mackerel flicking the surface in numbers and Kahawai nosing around the edges of the haphazard birds at least. No real snapper bounty in tow but worth a quick flick of a softbait.
There is another excellent winter fishing reward to be had around the inshore areas – gurnard. Over the general open sandy areas of the harbours and right in to quite shallow water ‘carrots’ are lying in wait. Using their sense of touch via their finger-like pectoral fins they hunt their small prey. So allowing your lure or softbait to drag along, puffing up sand and giving away it’s location with noise like this attracts the gurnard from a distance, give the gurnard time to find and catch your offering. They can and do swim up a long way after a lure retrieved steadily, eyeing it up before striking well of the sea floor. They have a hard little mouth, sharp hooks will still need to be set. A stunning looking fish and culinary top shelf however it is served, and so many ways there are. Just be very careful when handling them they pack several extremely sharp spikes that penetrate digits easily.
The days are getting longer, crisp and clear with some excellent winter adventures, time to enjoy the entire process of making the fishing memorable, there’s no time like the present.